Project description:Novel processing strategies for hydrolysis and fermentation of lignocellulosic biomass in a single reactor offer large potential cost savings for production of biocommodities and biofuels. One critical challenge is retaining high enzyme production in the presence of elevated product titers. Toward this goal, the cellulolytic, ethanol-producing bacterium Clostridium phytofermentans was adapted to increased ethanol concentrations. The resulting ethanol-tolerant (ET) strain has nearly doubled ethanol tolerance relative to the wild-type level but also reduced ethanol yield and growth at low ethanol concentrations. The genome of the ET strain has coding changes in proteins involved in membrane biosynthesis, the Rnf complex, cation homeostasis, gene regulation, and ethanol production. In particular, purification of the mutant bifunctional acetaldehyde coenzyme A (CoA)/alcohol dehydrogenase showed that a G609D variant abolished its activities, including ethanol formation. Heterologous expression of Zymomonas mobilis pyruvate decarboxylase and alcohol dehydrogenase in the ET strain increased cellulose consumption and restored ethanol production, demonstrating how metabolic engineering can be used to overcome disadvantageous mutations incurred during adaptation to ethanol. We discuss how genetic changes in the ET strain reveal novel potential strategies for improving microbial solvent tolerance.
Project description:Clostridium phytofermentans was isolated from forest soil and is distinguished by its capacity to directly ferment plant cell wall polysaccharides into ethanol as the primary product, suggesting that it possesses unusual catabolic pathways. The objective of the present study was to understand the molecular mechanisms of biomass conversion to ethanol in a single organism, Clostridium phytofermentans, by analyzing its complete genome and transcriptome during growth on plant carbohydrates. The saccharolytic versatility of C. phytofermentans is reflected in a diversity of genes encoding ATP-binding cassette sugar transporters and glycoside hydrolases, many of which may have been acquired through horizontal gene transfer. These genes are frequently organized as operons that may be controlled individually by the many transcriptional regulators identified in the genome. Preferential ethanol production may be due to high levels of expression of multiple ethanol dehydrogenases and additional pathways maximizing ethanol yield. The genome also encodes three different proteinaceous bacterial microcompartments with the capacity to compartmentalize pathways that divert fermentation intermediates to various products. These characteristics make C. phytofermentans an attractive resource for improving the efficiency and speed of biomass conversion to biofuels.
Project description:Clostridium thermocellum is a major candidate for bioethanol production via consolidated bioprocessing. However, the low ethanol tolerance of the organism dramatically impedes its usage in industry. To explore the mechanism of ethanol tolerance in this microorganism, systematic metabolomics was adopted to analyse the metabolic phenotypes of a C. thermocellum wild-type (WT) strain and an ethanol-tolerant strain cultivated without (ET0) or with (ET3) 3% (v/v) exogenous ethanol. Metabolomics analysis elucidated that the levels of numerous metabolites in different pathways were changed for the metabolic adaption of ethanol-tolerant C. thermocellum. The most interesting phenomenon was that cellodextrin was significantly more accumulated in the ethanol-tolerant strain compared with the WT strain, although cellobiose was completely consumed in both the ethanol-tolerant and wild-type strains. These results suggest that the cellodextrin synthesis was active, which might be a potential mechanism for stress resistance. Moreover, the overflow of many intermediate metabolites, which indicates the metabolic imbalance, in the ET0 cultivation was more significant than in the WT and ET3 cultivations. This indicates that the metabolic balance of the ethanol-tolerant strain was adapted better to the condition of ethanol stress. This study provides additional insight into the mechanism of ethanol tolerance and is valuable for further metabolic engineering aimed at higher bioethanol production.
Project description:Large-scale production of lignocellulosic biofuel is a potential solution to sustainably meet global energy needs. One-step consolidated bioprocessing (CBP) is a potentially advantageous approach for the production of biofuels, but requires an organism capable of hydrolyzing biomass to sugars and fermenting the sugars to ethanol at commercially viable titers and yields. Clostridium thermocellum, a thermophilic anaerobe, can ferment cellulosic biomass to ethanol and organic acids, but low yield, low titer, and ethanol sensitivity remain barriers to industrial production. Here, we deleted the hypoxanthine phosphoribosyltransferase gene in ethanol tolerant strain of C. thermocellum adhE*(EA) in order to allow use of previously developed gene deletion tools, then deleted lactate dehydrogenase (ldh) to redirect carbon flux towards ethanol. Upon deletion of ldh, the adhE*(EA) ?ldh strain produced 30% more ethanol than wild type on minimal medium. The adhE*(EA) ?ldh strain retained tolerance to 5% v/v ethanol, resulting in an ethanol tolerant platform strain of C. thermocellum for future metabolic engineering efforts.
Project description:Fermentation of plant biomass by microbes like Clostridium phytofermentans recycles carbon globally and can make biofuels from inedible feedstocks. We analyzed C. phytofermentans fermenting cellulosic substrates by integrating quantitative mass spectrometry of more than 2500 proteins with measurements of growth, enzyme activities, fermentation products, and electron microscopy. Absolute protein concentrations were estimated using Absolute Protein EXpression (APEX); relative changes between treatments were quantified with chemical stable isotope labeling by reductive dimethylation (ReDi). We identified the different combinations of carbohydratases used to degrade cellulose and hemicellulose, many of which were secreted based on quantification of supernatant proteins, as well as the repertoires of glycolytic enzymes and alcohol dehydrogenases (ADHs) enabling ethanol production at near maximal yields. Growth on cellulose also resulted in diverse changes such as increased expression of tryptophan synthesis proteins and repression of proteins for fatty acid metabolism and cell motility. This study gives a systems-level understanding of how this microbe ferments biomass and provides a rational, empirical basis to identify engineering targets for industrial cellulosic fermentation.
Project description:Clostridium phytofermentans was recently isolated from forest soil and is distinguished by its capacity to directly ferment plant cell wall polysaccharides into ethanol as the primary product, suggesting that it possesses unusual catabolic pathways. The objective of the present study was to understand the molecular mechanisms of biomass conversion to ethanol in a single organism, Clostridium phytofermentans, by analyzing its complete genome and transcriptome during growth on plant carbohydrates. The saccharolytic versatility of C. phytofermentans is reflected in a diversity of genes encoding ATP-binding cassette sugar transporters and glycoside hydrolases, many of which may have been acquired through horizontal gene transfer. These genes are frequently organized as operons that may be controlled individually by the many transcriptional regulators identified in the genome. Preferential ethanol production may be due to high levels of expression of multiple ethanol dehydrogenases and additional pathways maximizing ethanol yield. The genome also encodes three different proteinaceous bacterial microcompartments with the capacity to compartmentalize pathways that divert fermentation intermediates to various products. These characteristics make C. phytofermentans an attractive resource for improving the efficiency and speed of biomass conversion to biofuels. C. phytofermentans was cultured anaerobically on different carbohydrates sources to determine carbohydrates specific expression patterns. The data in this series consists two independent RNA preparations from replicate cultures.
Project description:While a majority of academic studies concerning acetone, butanol, and ethanol (ABE) production by Clostridium have focused on Clostridium acetobutylicum, other members of this genus have proven to be effective industrial workhorses despite the inability to perform genetic manipulations on many of these strains. To further improve the industrial performance of these strains in areas such as substrate usage, solvent production, and end product versatility, transformation methods and genetic tools are needed to overcome the genetic intractability displayed by these species. In this study, we present the development of a high-efficiency transformation method for the industrial butanol hyperproducer Clostridium saccharoperbutylacetonicum strain N1-4 (HMT) ATCC 27021. Following initial failures, we found that the key to creating a successful transformation method was the identification of three distinct colony morphologies (types S, R, and I), which displayed significant differences in transformability. Working with the readily transformable type I cells (transformation efficiency, 1.1 × 106 CFU/?g DNA), we performed targeted gene deletions in C. saccharoperbutylacetonicum N1-4 using a homologous recombination-mediated allelic exchange method. Using plasmid-based gene overexpression and targeted knockouts of key genes in the native acetone-butanol-ethanol (ABE) metabolic pathway, we successfully implemented rational metabolic engineering strategies, yielding in the best case an engineered strain (Clostridium saccharoperbutylacetonicum strain N1-4/pWIS13) displaying an 18% increase in butanol titers and 30% increase in total ABE titer (0.35 g ABE/g sucrose) in batch fermentations. Additionally, two engineered strains overexpressing aldehyde/alcohol dehydrogenases (encoded by adh11 and adh5) displayed 8.5- and 11.8-fold increases (respectively) in batch ethanol production. IMPORTANCE:This paper presents the first steps toward advanced genetic engineering of the industrial butanol producer Clostridium saccharoperbutylacetonicum strain N1-4 (HMT). In addition to providing an efficient method for introducing foreign DNA into this species, we demonstrate successful rational engineering for increasing solvent production. Examples of future applications of this work include metabolic engineering for improving desirable industrial traits of this species and heterologous gene expression for expanding the end product profile to include high-value fuels and chemicals.
Project description:Evolutionary engineering strategy was used for selection of ethanol-tolerant Saccharomyces cerevisiae clones under gradually increasing ethanol stress levels. Clones B2 and B8 were selected based on their higher ethanol-tolerance and higher ethanol production levels. Whole genome microarray analysis was used for identifying the gene expression levels of these two evolved clones compared to the reference strain. Two evolved ethanol-tolerant strains B2 and B8, which were selected by evolutionary engineering under gradually increasing ethanol stress, were used for whole genome transcriptomic analysis in comparison with the reference strain. Cells were grown in yeast minimal media until they reach a final OD600 of 1. Following total RNA isolation, gene expression levels were analyzed using One-color microarray-based gene expression analysis (Agilent Technologies). Experiments were done in triplicates.
Project description:Clostridium thermocellum is a thermophilic, obligately anaerobic, gram-positive bacterium that is a candidate microorganism for converting cellulosic biomass into ethanol through consolidated bioprocessing. Ethanol intolerance is an important metric in terms of process economics, and tolerance has often been described as a complex and likely multigenic trait for which complex gene interactions come into play. Here, we resequence the genome of an ethanol-tolerant mutant, show that the tolerant phenotype is primarily due to a mutated bifunctional acetaldehyde-CoA/alcohol dehydrogenase gene (adhE), hypothesize based on structural analysis that cofactor specificity may be affected, and confirm this hypothesis using enzyme assays. Biochemical assays confirm a complete loss of NADH-dependent activity with concomitant acquisition of NADPH-dependent activity, which likely affects electron flow in the mutant. The simplicity of the genetic basis for the ethanol-tolerant phenotype observed here informs rational engineering of mutant microbial strains for cellulosic ethanol production.
Project description:BACKGROUND: There is currently considerable interest in developing renewable sources of energy. One strategy is the biological conversion of plant biomass to liquid transportation fuel. Several technical hurdles impinge upon the economic feasibility of this strategy, including the development of energy crops amenable to facile deconstruction. Reliable assays to characterize feedstock quality are needed to measure the effects of pre-treatment and processing and of the plant and microbial genetic diversity that influence bioconversion efficiency. RESULTS: We used the anaerobic bacterium Clostridium phytofermentans to develop a robust assay for biomass digestibility and conversion to biofuels. The assay utilizes the ability of the microbe to convert biomass directly into ethanol with little or no pre-treatment. Plant samples were added to an anaerobic minimal medium and inoculated with C. phytofermentans, incubated for 3 days, after which the culture supernatant was analyzed for ethanol concentration. The assay detected significant differences in the supernatant ethanol from wild-type sorghum compared with brown midrib sorghum mutants previously shown to be highly digestible. Compositional analysis of the biomass before and after inoculation suggested that differences in xylan metabolism were partly responsible for the differences in ethanol yields. Additionally, we characterized the natural genetic variation for conversion efficiency in Brachypodium distachyon and shrub willow (Salix spp.). CONCLUSION: Our results agree with those from previous studies of lignin mutants using enzymatic saccharification-based approaches. However, the use of C. phytofermentans takes into consideration specific organismal interactions, which will be crucial for simultaneous saccharification fermentation or consolidated bioprocessing. The ability to detect such phenotypic variation facilitates the genetic analysis of mechanisms underlying plant feedstock quality.